Jeff Jensen is a U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, who was nominated by President Donald Trump and confirmed Oct. 4, 2017. He leads the office responsible for prosecuting federal crimes including terrorism, corruption and fraud, among other cases.
The married father of four got his start as a certified public accountant (CPA) after he graduated from Indiana University. He spent ten years as an FBI agent and eventually went to the Saint Louis University School of Law before he began serving as an assistant U.S. attorney.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He Is the State’s Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri
Jensen has been the U.S. Attorney for roughly 2½ years and his district covers 49 counties.
According to St. Louis Magazine, Jensen had to reconfigure the entire office, which was focused on white-collar crime, to reduce drug-related violent crime. He added 15 violent-crime prosecutors and halved the white-collar team.
He told the magazine that his office focuses on individuals and one of the state’s largest cities of St. Louis:
“We focus on certain types of crimes, those that can be predicates to murder. We focus on certain individuals, those we deem likely to be violent offenders. And we focus on the area that’s become known as the [St. Louis Metropolitan Police] Chief’s Rectangle: less than 15 percent of the land in the city but about 67.5 percent of the murders.”
However, Jensen admitted that the community has a role to play in helping his office do its job.
“… There is no way we’re going to police and prosecute our way out of this problem. We partner with a number of community organizations, including the Urban League, which has a Save Our Sons program that’s generated hundreds of jobs; the Demetrious Johnson Foundation, which also provides jobs and helps train people as they come out of federal probation; and Better Family Life, which does de-escalations of ongoing conflicts.”
Jensen has said that he uses social science studies to study de-escalation processes and focuses on increasing employment, especially among parolees.
In 2019, Jensen told St. Louis Public Radio that he was frustrated by the still-high crime rate despite aggressive prosecutions. He described his office as a Band-Aid, and community agencies as the long-term solution.
2. He Spent Much of Last Year Focused on Health Care Fraud
Matthew Schlep, who was once a deputy health care fraud coordinator at the Eastern District of Missouri, sat on the panel with Jensen. Schlep pointed out that insurance companies are providing robust data, which makes it easier for prosecutors to make their cases and discover trends.
“The revolution in health care is not health care, it’s in information,” Jensen told Missouri In House Counsel. “And it’s the analysis of that data and information. That trend is just now coming into full effects on the enforcement side.”
3. He Was Assigned the Flynn Case by Attorney General William Barr
Barr assigned Jensen to the Flynn case in February.
Retired U.S. Army lieutenant general and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations he had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. However, he later told the New York Times that he was coerced into lying by the FBI.
According to the New York Times, Jensen and others on the team asked prosecutors about their investigative steps and why they took them. Jensen was part of the team which also included prosecutors from the office of Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.
Barr appointed Jensen shortly after questions arose about his independence on another case involving an associate of President Trump, Roger Stone. After Trump tweeted about the sentence federal prosecutors recommended for Stone, the Department of Justice overrode the sentencing recommendation and four of the original prosecutors on the case resigned.
Barr said the White House did not influence the decision.
4. He Recommended the Dismissal of the Justice Department’s Case Against Michael Flynn
The Justice Department announced Thursday that it was dropping the case against Flynn.
The recommendation came from Jensen a week ago, according to the Associated Press, but the announcement was made Thursday.
Barr told CBS News, “A crime cannot be established here. They did not have a basis for a counter-intelligence investigation against Flynn at the stage.”
The Associated Press also reported that U.S. Attorney Tim Shea, who signed the motion to dismiss, agreed with Jensen’s recommendation and said the FBI had no reason to investigate Flynn after they didn’t find illegal activity from their initial investigations.
The action incurred backlash from several democrats, such as New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
“… A politicized and thoroughly corrupt Department of Justice is going to let the president’s crony simply walk away,” he said. “Americans are right to be furious and worried about the continued erosion of our rule of law.”
Trump, however, praised Flynn, calling him an innocent man and describing the original investigation as a hoax; he has also not ruled out bringing Flynn back into his administration, according to Axios.
5. He Was An FBI Agent for A Decade
After graduating from Indiana University’s School of Business, Jensen joined PricewaterhouseCoopers as a CPA. Soon after, he applied to become an FBI agent, where he stayed for ten years.
Jensen told the St. Louis Magazine that he was inspired to join because of the savings and loan failures of the 1980s:
“I’d always wanted to be in the FBI … I was primarily in the white-collar crime group, and for a time I was a member of the FBI SWAT team. When I was an agent, I was just fascinated by what happened in the courtroom.”
During that time, he spent a year investigating violin dealer bow maker Keith Bearden, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Bearden was accused by prosecutors of stealing and selling the instruments of musicians from the St. Louis Symphony and other musicians. Bearden pleaded guilty to 14 federal counts and agreed to pay a $1.5 million fine.
He started attending law school in 1998 to earn his law degree and worked as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri alongside David Rosen for ten years. From 2010-2013 Jensen ran his own firm, Jensen, Bartlett & Schlep, focused on white-collar cases and litigation.